Rideshare Insurance Tightening Rules Proposed

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC Bay Area
    The intersection at Octavia Street and Oak Street in San Francisco is shut down after Uber X driver Bassim Elbatniji totals his 2008 Toyota white Prius on September 25, 2013.

    A California Assembly committee wants to tighten up insurance requirements for ride service companies like Uber and Lyft.

    Winning bipartisan approval, a bill sponsored by Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, would require ride service companies provide their drivers with at least $1 million of commercial insurance any time a driver is on duty.

    Many of the services, like Uber-X and Lyft allow regular citizens to use their personal cars to pick up passengers willing to pay for a ride.

    Some insurance companies have said personal auto policies won't cover an accident, if a passenger has hired a driver for a lift somewhere.

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    Uber reacted quickly to the committee action.

    Company Spokesman Lane Kasselman said the company "can't support ..(the) legislation in its current form," but said Uber hopes to work with Bonilla to find a compromise.

    The insurance issue was at the heart of a tragic case in San Francisco, when driver Syed Muzaffar said he was trolling for a fare when he struck and killed 6-year-old Sophia Liu on New Year's Eve.

    Uber-X argues it is not liable because Muzaffar was not on his way to pick up a passenger at the time of the crash.

    Bonilla says "we need to make sure rules are in place to notify and protect those using new technologies."

    Uber has said its "best-in-class background checks and insurance coverage ensures that Uber is the safest ride on the road."

    But it was just last month when an NBC4 I-Team investigation showed a number of cases where drivers with criminal backgrounds passed Uber background checks.

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